The Karnataka High Court has extended the stay on the CBI's FIR lodged against senior Congress leader and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
A single bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna extended the interim order of stay and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for posting it before the appropriate bench.
The court noted the petition has been part-heard by Justice K Natarajan before the summer vacation.
Shivakumar had filed two petitions in the HC, one against the sanction granted on September 25, 2019 by the State Government to the CBI to prosecute him and another challenging the FIR filed against him by the central agency on October 3, 2020.
According to the FIR, Shivakumar and his family members were found in possession of Rs 74.93 crore disproportionate assets, during the check period between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2018.
Shivakumar's counsel contended that the CBI was causing mental harassment by issuing repeated notices.
His plea claimed that along with Shivakumar, his wife and daughter were also served with notices by the investigating agency. According to the petitioner, the CBI could not have initiated coercive measures against him in view of the earlier order of the high court.
When the matter came up before Justice Nagaprasanna, who is the designated judge at the high court for cases arising from Special Court for public representatives (MPs/MLAs), it was submitted before the court that the matter was marked as part-heard since it was extensively heard before the court of Justice Natarajan.
The CBI's counsel P Prasanna Kumar submitted that the agency had filed an interlocutory application for vacating the stay on investigation granted on February 10, 2023.
He also said that the previous designated judge had opined that the matter should go before the appropriate bench as the roster has been changed.
Justice Nagaprasanna, noted that it has expressly been indicated that the matter was part-heard.
The court said that the previous judge may have observed that the matter should be listed before the roster bench, but there is no order releasing the matter from the part-heard category.
The court directed the registry to take necessary steps to place it before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders.
Earlier, the high court has dismissed Shivakumar's petition challenging the grant of sanction earlier.
The Income Tax Department had conducted a search and seizure operation in the offices and residence of Shivakumar in 2017. Following this, the Enforcement Directorate started its own probe against Shivakumar. Afterwards, the CBI sought sanction from the state government to register an FIR against him.